Sliema is “under attack” protestors were told this morning as they were urged to stand up to developers' cowboy tactics.
People were suffering due to “cowboy developers” who were intent on building at all costs, Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar coordinator Astrid Vella told the gathering in Dingli Street.
The pollution caused by over-development in Malta had led to an increase in illness in residents but a bullish Ms Vella insisted it was not too late to save Sliema, especially if residents made their voices heard.
FAA official Robert Fenech accused the Planning Authority of approving a number of “illegal” developments.
“If we ruin our island, who is going to want to live in the present buildings, let alone those yet to be built,” Mr Fenech questioned.
Just three applications are recommended for refusal
Sliema councillor Paul Radmilli said 177 new units on 72 separate sites had been approved or were in the final stages of approval in the last few weeks alone. Of these developments, only three are recommended for refusal, Mr Radmilli said.
He warned that all the new developments were placing pressure on Sliema's infrastructure, particularly when it came to parking.
Councillor and former Greens chairman Michael Briguglio urged civil society to stand up to the government. He said the current government only took action when people were angered and made their voices heard.
Meanwhile, architect Edward Said slammed people who viewed Sliema as already being a lost cause as either being “ignorant, having vested interests or just plain defeatist".
Residents' ire was targeted at both the PA and developers. One placard featured a picture of PA chairman Johann Buttigieg with a halo superimposed over his head.
One resident held a placard aloft featuring a number of high-rise buildings and cranes, with a foreboding 'Welcome to Sliema' sign.
A number of MPs were present at the event, including independent MP Marlene Farrugia and PN MPs Robert Arrigo and Kristy Debono.
Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party also participated in the event through a delegation including Chairperson Arnold Cassola and Secretary General Ralph Cassar.